The Rite of Spring; Turn It Out With Tiler Peck & Friends – review

How do you honor ballet technique by making it seem relevant and fresh? That’s the question asked in different ways by British Asian choreographer Seeta Patel and American dancer Tiler Peck, both extraordinary performers looking to expand their range.

Patel’s dance language is the South Indian bharatanatyam tradition. In his solo shree, see his blend of delicate hand movements and rhythmic footwork, the way he mixes storytelling and abstraction. But it’s his version of The Rite of Spring for 12 dancers which forms the heart of the program.

With the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra providing an explosive live version of Stravinsky’s score, Patel shapes the intricacies of technique – usually a solo form – into waves and clusters of movement. The dancers, in soft lilacs, fawns and pinks, lunge forward, heels tapping the floor, arms raised in curved shapes, fingers picking the notes.

In the flesh Tiler Peck is a revelation, loud and fast, the music flowing through his body like a visible thing

Against Warren Latvia’s lavish lighting, in the brilliant colors of sunrise and sunset, they ebb and flow in perfect response to the soaring, sometimes ferocious, sometimes lyrical, sometimes spinning with brisk speed, sometimes sharply leaping soundtrack. Sometimes they form a line across the stage like a frieze, evoking both Nijinksy’s original choreography and Patel’s new insights. A chosen maiden becomes a man who becomes a god, bringing renewal. He is handsome, intelligent and exciting.

New York City Ballet star Peck has long been a phenomenon, a prodigious dancer who achieved megawatts in isolation with Switch it off With the tiler Peck, her daily dance class. In the flesh she is a revelation, loud and fast, the music flowing through her body like a visible thing. She is a generous dancer, a lover of tap and musicals as well as ballet, and that’s a generous bill: four operas, live music and some wonderful dancers.

It is fueled by the desire to communicate, to share the joy of ballet. It opens quietly with the elegant Thousandth orangewith choreography by Peck, and Alonzo King Fast arrow, a biting duet for Peck and Roman Mejia. It finishes incisively with the mastery of William Forsythe The Barre Project (Blake Works II)on the music of James Blake.

Originally seen online and created for Peck and the equally sensational Lex Ishimoto, Brooklyn Mack and Mejia, the piece crackles with energy and pleasure, shaped by the contrasts between the random movement of the steps and their sharp execution, the modulation of the movement from soft to powerful , from fast to slow. Peck seduces with off-center balance and spin stops so hard you can hear the screech.

In Time spellPeck and the ballet dancers are joined by tap master Michelle Dorrance, choreographer Jillian Meyers and improvising singers Aaron Marcellus and Penelope Wendtlandt in a glorious collision of tap and ballet, two forms that don’t speak easily but here merge with a edifying inventiveness.

Related: “It’s a Pain and a Healing”: Why Dance Producers Love The Rite of Spring

Dorrance’s complex rhythms and soft shoe swish form the soundtrack for the pointe shoe variations; Meyer’s grounded ease serves as a counterpoint to more balletic leaps. Skat steps and pirouettes are performed side by side. It’s happy proof that Peck—smiling broadly as she steps onto the board in her pointe shoes for a duet with Dorrance—understood something when he says ballet is more than tutus and tiaras.

Star ratings (out of five)
Seeta Patel Dance: The Rite of Spring
Shut it down with Tiler Peck & Friends ★★★★★

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